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Enjoy sounds of the season, local style

A plethora of creative holiday music options from around the region

The Jose “Juicy” Gonzales Trio will perform Vince Guaraldi’s classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in its entirety on Wednesday
The Jose “Juicy” Gonzales Trio will perform Vince Guaraldi’s classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in its entirety on Wednesday
By Jesse Stanton CDN Contributor

Christmas celebrations can take a lot of different forms. This week, I want to share some options to include live local music in your festivities. A&E Editor Amy Kepferle covered the orchestras, choirs and whatnot last week, so I’m going to give you some options in the rock, folk, country and jazz genres.

We’ll start down in Anacortes, where the Anacortes Music Project is hosting its annual Yule Ball at Buxton’s on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Expect a bake sale and lots of socializing to go along with great performers like The Enthusiasts, Fanny Alger, and the Wes Jones Trio. 

The Anacortes music community has a lot to celebrate this year with how they’ve transformed Buxton’s into a hub of creativity and community. Also in Anacortes on Wednesday, Dec. 13, fiddler Geoffrey Castle leads a band, dancers, pipers and other guests through a Celtic Christmas program at the Transit Shed Events Center.

Fairhaven’s FireHouse Arts and Events Center is really embracing the season. Local country/folk rockers North Country Highway have a holiday show Friday, Dec. 15, and they’re promising a mix of “holiday classics, little-known gems and North Country originals.”

photo  Local country/folk rockers North Country Highway have a holiday show Friday, Dec. 15 at the FireHouse Arts and Events Center. (Photo courtesy of Beth Rusk)  

The very next night, local institution The Atlantics return for their annual Christmas show of classic rock ‘n’ roll with a holiday twist. Finally, on Wednesday, Dec. 20, they’ve got my personal favorite of all these shows, when the Jose “Juicy” Gonzales Trio performs Vince Guaraldi’s classic A Charlie Brown Christmas in its entirety, presented by the Jazz Center of Bellingham. You’re already humming “Linus and Lucy,” aren’t you?

I didn’t even know that the late, great singer-songwriter John Prine ever recorded a Christmas album. Fortunately, Jenner Fox is a big fan of it and will bring his band (featuring several Bellingham area musicians) to the New Prospect Theatre for a tribute show at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15. 

That’s followed by two nights of great shows in that venue the following week when Robert Sarazin Blake performs Christmas shows on Dec. 22 and 23, joined by the duo of Louis Ledford and Norah McLaughlin. They’re promising songs and stories that “have something to do with the holiday season.”

Finally, on Thursday, Dec. 21, the Mount Baker Theatre is offering the “Million Dollar Quartet Christmas,” a touring production of the musical that tells the story of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash getting together for a Christmas jam session in December 1956.

So there you have it, a veritable plethora of creative interpretations of what Christmas music can be. Get out and enjoy the sounds of the season with some local flavor.


A new artist to watch for: Ivy Ficarra blew the crowd away at the last Stones Throw Neighborhood Songwriters Showcase with her powerful voice and carefully crafted country/folk songs. No official recordings yet but you’ll want to keep an eye out for her shows around town. 

Ramble Tamble is starting to really ramp it up with shows at least three days a week. For now, in their small space, it’s mostly solos or duos, but I’ll be excited to see what they can do if and when they expand. 

New releases

Checker Bloom dropped a new single, “Soul Shine.” They’ve got a new lead guitar player who has really enhanced their sound with a super melodic approach. SAFE TRVLS also has a new single, “Insomniac,” an evocative slice of dark, late-night, electronic R&B. 

Finally, in a strong contender for the strangest local music of the year, Tim Mechling released the EP “The Clowns of Frownville,” six songs of avant-garde spooky clown music. 


The Lowest Pair
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, New Prospect Theatre 
The Lowest Pair started out as a duo making dark Americana with banjos, guitars, and tight harmony vocals. After five albums and extensive touring, they’ve switched it up a bit by expanding to a five-piece band for their latest album, “The Perfect Plan.” That’s the lineup that will be at the New Prospect Theatre on Friday, Dec. 8. 

Heavy Bloom
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, The Blue Room
Seattle’s Heavy Bloom released a self-titled EP of their R&B and neo-soul songs in October, and they’re making their way back to Bellingham for their first show since then at The Blue Room on Saturday, Dec. 9. Expect deep grooves and smooth vocal melodies, plus strong local support from Kazmyn and Bellflower.

The Veldt
7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, The Shakedown
The Veldt emerged from the North Carolina indie rock scene of the ’80s to become key early influences on the “shoegaze” sound. Since then they’ve moved to New York City, changed their name to Apollo Heights and then back again, and worked with everyone from the Cocteau Twins to Mos Def. They’re bringing their mix of swirling sonics with soul and pop to The Shakedown for a show on Sunday, Dec. 10.

(Full disclosure: ordinarily I wouldn’t use this space to promote shows where I’m performing, but The Veldt are just too cool to leave out, and it’s not their fault I’m in one of the opening bands.)


Tuesday, Nov. 28

  • Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Jam:30 (open jam night)
  • Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Menace: 7 p.m., Invitational Blues Jam
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., Rosegarden Funeral Party, Trigger Discipline, Gallowmaker, Fog Bodies (rock)
  • Ramble Tamble: 9 p.m., Elevator Club ft. Heist (hip-hop)
  • WWU Viking Union: 8 p.m., Indigo De Souza

Wednesday, Nov. 29

  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
  • Rockfish: 6 p.m., Pension King and the Dependents (classic rock)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Katie & Kevin (bluegrass/folk)
  • Underground Coffeehouse: 7 p.m., Bellflower
  • Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., Dean Johnson, Duff Thompson, Steph Green

Thursday, Nov. 30

  • Admiralty Lounge: 7 p.m., David Donohue (folk)
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., High Peak Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Farmstrong: 6 p.m., Narrow Tarot
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Doug Allen & Son
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Bluegrass Jam
  • Rockfish: 7 p.m., Chris Eger and the Fat James Band (blues/rock)
  • Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., J.P. Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
  • Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., Mirin Doja, Korra the Kid, Shadowvariable, Frubbles (electronic)

Friday, Dec. 1

  • Admiralty Lounge: 7 p.m., Octavia McAloon (folk)
  • Aslan: 8 p.m., BJ Block Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., Thomas Harris Quartet (jazz)
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Moon Mother, Lazy Acres, Feral Moon (rock)
  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Uncle Doug
  • Brodniak Hall: 7 p.m., John Van Deusen and the Passenger String Quartet (Christmas music)
  • Eagle Haven: 7 p.m., Michael Dayvid (acoustic covers)
  • FireHouse: 7 p.m., Jami Templeton Quartet (jazz)
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Ron Hardt
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Simon Llewelyn Evans (folk)
  • Main Street: 8 p.m., Blind Fate (classic rock)
  • Ritual Records: 6 p.m., Drayton, Mad King (rock)
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Biff Got Killed, Torch, Bennycamps and the Bastards (rock)
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., Spider Cult (Gypsy jazz/Americana)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Odd Mood Jam Band
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., High Mountain String Band (bluegrass)
  • Vault: 7 p.m., The Unknowns
  • WinkWink: 7 p.m., CHRVNS, Ebony Harris (hip-hop)

Saturday, Dec. 2

  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Wayne Hayton
  • Buxton’s: 6 p.m., Ebb, Slack & Flood, Savage Blues Band
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Deal (Grateful Dead tribute)
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Merriweather (old-time/folk)
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Lucas Warford (cabaret folk)
  • Main Street: 8:30 p.m., Blindfate (classic rock)
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Slowfall, Where’s the Exit, Lemonbear (rock)
  • Ramble Tamble: 8 p.m., Forest Ray (indie psych folk), OG Neeks (DJ)
  • Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Billy Appleton Band
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Tuesday’s Refuge, Shotty, Old Town Scouts (rock)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., The Penny Stinkers (classic rock)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., JP Falcon Grady (acoustic covers)
  • That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Wild Buffalo: 8:30 p.m., Shlump (electronic)

Sunday, Dec. 3

  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Machine Animal, Vibacious
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Guitars and Gratitude (folk/Americana)
  • Kulshan: 5 p.m., Cardova (R&B/funk)
  • Main Street: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • New Prospect Theatre: 5:30 p.m., First Anniversary Party ft. Andy Bunn & Friends, The Hot Tomatoes
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., Randy Weeks & The Silent Treatment (country/rock)
  • Paws for a Beer: 2 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Ramble Tamble: 7:30 p.m., Bird Harlow, Cooper Kenward, Marlo Mudd, Elise Poirier (folk)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Tyanna, Dank Zavala (R&B/hip-hop)

Monday, Dec. 4

  • Firehouse: 3:30 p.m., Kera-Lynn Newman & Jan Peters (traditional folk)
  • Kulshan: 6 p.m., Free Harmony (classic folk/rock)
  • Ramble Tamble: 7 p.m., Shady Groove (acoustic Dead/bluegrass)

Tuesday, Dec. 5

  • Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Jam:30 (open jam night)
  • Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Menace: 7 p.m.,  Invitational Blues Jam
  • Wild Buffalo: 8:30 p.m., Cannons (electro-pop)
  • Zeeks: 6 p.m., Open Mic

Wednesday, Dec. 6

  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
  • Rockfish: 6 p.m., Joan Penney (jazz)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Tyler Clarke

Thursday, Dec. 7

  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., High Peak Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., WWU Jazz Night
  • Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Eagle Haven: 7 p.m., Olson Brothers (country/Christmas)
  • Farmstrong: 6 p.m., Joshua Red Uttech
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Jazz Jam
  • Ramble Tamble: 7:30 p.m., Sunflecks, Verboten, Lily Miller
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., Yak Attack, Swindler
  • Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • That’s What I Like: 6 p.m, J.P. Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
  • Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., Mason Jennings

Friday, Dec. 8

  • Aslan: 8 p.m. Tenderpile’s Smile Aisle (jazz)
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., Thomas Harris Quartet (jazz)
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Heroes, Beatroots, Bellingham Rock Orchestra (rock)
  • Brown Lantern: 9 p.m., Joey Hendricks
  • Corner Taphouse: 7 p.m., Dry Martini (jazz)
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Jeffrey Slough and Friends
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Quickdraw String Band (folk)
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Fog Bodies, Bird Bones, Cat Positive (rock)
  • New Prospect Theatre: 7 p.m., The Lowest Pair
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Wet Temple, Myonia, Done to Death (hard rock)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers (blues/R&B)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., JP Falcon Grady
  • Vault: 7 p.m., Darla Kendrick
  • Wild Buffalo: 8:30 p.m., MUST DIE!, Tisoki, Ceilia, Pathos, Hiryann (electronic)

Saturday, Dec. 9

  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Heavy Bloom, Kazmyn, Bellflower
  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Tom Mullin
  • Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Clark Point Rounders (bluegrass)
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Oly Mountain Boys (bluegrass)
  • FireHouse: 6 p.m., Jeff and Jenn Christmas show (Elvis and Celine Dion tribute)
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., The Moving Hats
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., The Happy Hour Storytellers:  Matney Cook and Stone Jones, ft. Wille Reavis and Dean Luce (singer-songwriters)
  • Jansen Art Center: 3 p.m., Noel Ensemble (Celtic/Christmas)
  • Make.Shift: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • McIntyre Hall: 7:30 p.m., Skagit Symphony (holiday program)
  • Old Edison: 8 p.m., The Mosstones, The Dangerous Curves
  • Ramble Tamble: 7 p.m., Sarah Goodin, John Swanke
  • Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Pacific Twang (country)
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Acid King, Kadabra, Dark Meditation (doom/stoner metal)
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., Eric Kosarot and Rosahlee (folk/Americana)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., JP Falcon Grady
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Gruv (jazz/funk)
  • Wild Buffalo: 8:30 p.m., EPROM, EASTGHOST, Lotus Drops b2b Squanch, Keags

Sunday, Dec. 10

  • Kulshan: 5 p.m., The Devilies
  • Main Street: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Mount Baker Theatre: 3 p.m., Bellingham Symphony Orchestra (holiday program)
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., The Bow Diddlers
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., The Veldt, Tremours, The Wyrds (rock)

Before heading out to listen to live music, check with individual venues to make sure the event is still taking place as scheduled. 

The Beat Goes On is published online Tuesdays and in print Fridays. Email: or Twitter: @JSBhamMusic.

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